[Big 3 East] Bersa, Grand Power, and 1911s Galore

Rafael of Eagle Imports brought a plethora of pistols to Big 3 East. I will be honest, I did not think much of Bersa until I got to see them first hand. I relegated Bersa handguns to something just higher than Hi-Point and Kel-Tec pistols. Inexpensive and they work but nothing stellar to get me excited. How wrong I was.

The Bersa Thunder 9 Pro XT is a great gun and ready for competition. It has a fiber optic front sight and adjustable rear sight. Ambidextrous controls and a long slide/barrel. Trigger pull is crisp and short.

The Thunder 9 Pro XT slide is hand lapped and the barrel is hand fitted. MSRP is $925 and comes with 5 magazines.



The Grand Power pistols were what interested me the most. They are made in Slovakia and I remember jealously watching a video of Polenar Tactical shooting a select fire Grand Power a while ago.


Unfortunately Rafael does not have a machine pistol to bring with him. I was not dissapointed though. The Grand Power pistols are remarkable. They have a rotating locking barrel similar in function as the Beretta PX4 Storm. The Grand Power pistols are not bulky like the PX4 storms. The slides rack with little effort. Almost like racking an airsoft gas blow back pistol slide. The K100 X-Trim caught my eye. I am a sucker for slide cuts.


Even better looking and functioning is the X-Calibur K100. It has a 5″ barrel compared to the K100’s 4.3″ barrel. The trigger weight is reduced and SA only. The safeties have been enlarged to huge wings that act as thumb rests. You can swap them out for shorter or flush versions. The barrel is fluted for increased strength, reduced weight and accuracy.

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The most surprising pistol was by far this P40 chambered in 10mm. When Rafael recommended I shoot this 10mm I winced at the idea. I had shot the Glock 40 10mm and did not like it. Shooting a shorter barreled 10mm did not seem like a pleasant experience. I was very wrong. Sure 10mm are notoriously powerful. But shooting this 10mm Grand Power felt like I was shooting my Glock 22. Yes there is recoil and muzzle climb but not nearly at the magnitude I was expecting. It felt like shooting a .40s&w hand gun. Very very impressive. DSC_0294 DSC_0297

Metroarms American Classic makes 1911’s in the Philippines. As you can tell by now, I immediately gravitate to race guns. Rafael brought this 3011 SSD. This steel framed, double stack .45acp is quite the shooter. I wanted to check out their 2011 in 9mm and see how it compares to my STI Steelmaster but he did not have them there.

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I thought Browning was the only company with a petite .380 1911. Well that is not the case. Spanish manufacturer Llama has their Micromax .380. Unfortunately this one is a non-firing prototype. But so far it looks good. The best part is the price. Compared to Browning’s .380 at $599, the Llama version will be only $350.

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For more information about these pistols, check out EagleImports.com.

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


  • Lew Siffer

    So were you shooting full power 10mm loads or did he do his job as a salesman and slip in some dumbed-down FBI-type loads?

    • Nicholas C

      They were 10mm factory ammo.

      • Patrick R.

        So probably dumbed-down FBI loads.

        • nova3930

          If the box didn’t say Underwood, Double-Tap or Buffalo Bore on the side, they were probably closer to 40S&W than 10mm….

          • Rafael DelValle

            Armscor 10mm 180gr FMJ

  • kipy

    Looks like were gonna need a Llama/Browning/Rock Island 380 shoot off.

    • Giolli Joker

      “I thought Browning was the only company with a petite .380 1911. Well that is not the case.”
      Yep, there are actually at least 3 players.

      • plingr

        There are also LLama microma x32 (.32 acp), if .380 is to big for you.

        • DIR911911 .

          “.380 is to big” . . . words never heard before

        • Rafael DelValle

          we are not going to make the .32acp. Maybe a 22lr version though.

          • iksnilol

            Seriously? Everybody who’s studied it a bit knows that the .32 is way better for all purposes than .380.

          • Rafael DelValle

            No argument here on that. The 32 caliber guns simply don’t sell well enough to justify making them at this point.

        • mazkact

          2,to,too,two. Sorry just had 2 do it ;). Not really a new pistol but a re-introduced one.

    • Porty1119

      My fiancé wants one badly; she’s a huge 1911 fan and would like a CC piece based on a familiar manual of arms.

      • kipy

        I know its not completely a 1911 but have you had her look at the Sig P238? They are a piece of cake to rack the slide on and the recoil is extremely light.

        • Porty1119

          Thanks for the recommendation! SIGs are a little bit out of our price range, but I could see her liking the SAO operating system.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            I carry a P238 and I think the price has dropped since the 938 came out.

          • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

            Colt makes one called the mustang. Its a polymer frame with the same manual of arms and I think its street price starts around $500. There is also the Kimber Micro which is priced somewhere between the Colt and Sig.

    • Mike

      Looked a at Rock Island 380, very nice gun, I wanted it to follow me home., but honestly I could not find a use for a large 380.

    • Joe

      Absolutely, and I want dimensions and side-by-side reference pics.
      I just wish someone would find the sweet spot between these 380 offerings and the 9mm Springfield EMP4 LW Champion.
      I think better results could be obtained by scaling up a .380 1911 to 9mm, instead of scaling down from a full size 1911 (ex- EMP).
      And about scale, I also mean 1911 slide to frame proportions like the Browning, not a 380-size slide assembly coupled with a long (front to back) grip frame like a P938.

  • thedonn007

    I don’t care how nice it is, I am not going to pay almost $1,000 for a Bersa.

    • Bill

      Bersas at Bersa price points is what makes them attractive and successful

    • Rafael DelValle

      this is a race gun. shoot it and tell me it is not worth it. “Real” retail price should be around $800. If you don’t want it though, certainly don’t buy it. Not for everyone. Selling quite a few of them and have assembled a team of top shooters who love the gun.

  • John L.

    I wish Grand Power made the X-Calibur in .45 ACP. My wife and wallet are glad they don’t, however.

  • Harrison Jones

    The safety on the Grand Power looks great! I could maybe even use that gun for self defense.

  • Ben Loong

    To be clear, the Llama brand is now owned by Metro Arms.

  • iksnilol

    Ohmigawd, that Lama is so cute. Do they intend to make a .32 version? Not a fan of .380.

    • Marcus D.

      .32 Federal Magnum would be so much more fun.

      • iksnilol

        Yeah, but I like .32 ACP better. Cheaper, waaay more available.

  • nova3930

    From a structural perspective, flutes only increase strength as compared to the reduced barrel size ie the OD at the bottom of the flutes. Compared to an unfluted barrel of the original OD, removing material for the flutes will make the barrel weaker. The more material you have, further from the neutral axis, the stronger and stiffer the component will be.


    It is nice to see another 10mm on the market though.

  • TheMaskedMan

    I’ve always liked the Grand Power on paper, but no store has ever had one I could play with.

    • Rafael DelValle

      keep asking all of your dealers. People want to see them. Dealers are reluctant to stock them for some reason.

  • Edeco

    Argh, still no Roxor (Grand Power’s 5″ tactical/practical 380).

    $900 Bersa… hmmm. I rented a Bersa 380 one time. Yawn, but like the reviews say, seemed like good value. Be neat to see what they render forth for 3x as much.

    • Paul White

      you lubed up your llama real good and grabbed it tightly?

      • Edeco

        Well, lube yes, but I don’t believe in white-knuckling it, but rather a light grip and proper technique 🙂

    • Rafael DelValle

      we are not going to import the Roxor. It was basically made for Brazil from what I understand. We don’t see much of a market for it here.

      • Edeco


  • Bob

    That’s funny, I’ve always heard that Bersas often malfunction, especially that PPK looking .380 of theirs. Maybe I just saw too many people with lemons to make an informed decision…

    • Rafael DelValle

      less than 1/2% return rate on the brand as a whole

    • Brian Fulmer

      There are few gunshops left in CA, but the ones I frequent sold LOTS of Bersa Thunders for home defence. Like multiple per week at two shops in particular. Very good value for money and a bargain overall. I fear they have fallen off the approved roster in CA, as I’ve not seen one in stock in a year or more. I see them as an RSO at the range occasionally, generally newer shooters who take personal responsibility seriously. I’ve seen exactly zero issues (several hundred shooters a year over the last 7-8 years total). Perhaps the “lemons” were with folks new to the shooting world?

      • Bob

        Eh, random internet accounts mostly. Most owned many firearms and seemed knowledgeable, so if what you say is true, then I’m guessing lemons. (I recall an account of constant jamming, and another of a spring breaking and the gun effectively becoming a paperweight until it was replaced, neither of which are ideal for self defense weapons. Both were in reference to the little .380 one that looks like a Makarov or PPK.)

  • schizuki

    Bersas are made in Argentina, so the steel comes from the Graf Spee.

    I know that because I read it on the Internet.

    • gerald brennan

      The Internet?! Is that still around?

    • mazkact


  • Al

    The Llama 380 is actually a pretty cool gun, I’ve got one of the original Spanish made IIIa models from the 70’s and it’s a lot of fun on the range.

  • SirOliverHumperdink

    I love everything about the Grand Power except the font and slide markings. They really need some help there. Also the name Grand Power sounds like a TV/DVD player combo from BigLots.

    • iksnilol

      Hi-Power sounds kinda stupid as well, nobody complained about that one 😛

  • Tempted to get that Thunder 9 Pro XT as a home defense piece. Well, and range toy.

  • supergun

    Own a Bersa Thunder Plus 380. One of the nicest 380s ever. Holds 15 bullets. Nice for the wife. Only trouble is the availability of the 15 round magazines.

  • Rocketman

    Bersa is a very under rated company. I have a Bersa BP9CC that I bought about a year and a half ago as a carry gun and was delighted with it. The trigger is about 3.5 pounds and the short reset makes me think of a customized glock. Only the slide release do I have a problem with. It needs to stick out a little further than it does as I don’t always drop the slide every time on rapid reloads. At 63 years old, the hands just don’t work as well as they used to.

  • Mike Lashewitz

    The Bersa Thunder 380 I have stove pipes every magazine. It balks at ball ammo. Tried to improve it by polishing the feed ramp but it made no difference. So only hp ammo will do.

    Any suggestions?

  • Edeco

    I mean, thinking about the $900 Bersa, on one hand if they deliver that much solid value, could be nifty. On the other, you know how Chevy will try to get 1.5x the base price for some loaded 4cyl compact sedan, or crossover-bakery-truck thing, and it’s like “lol, no!”